Owning a business can be stressful, and the last thing you want to do is spend time in court settling disputes. If you believe a dispute may arise, there are steps you can take to dissuade disgruntled employees or business associates from suing you. Meet with a lawyer to discuss release of liability forms in Atlanta. A knowledgeable attorney can help you understand the purpose and benefits of these contracts.
A release of liability form is used to protect a person or entity from legal responsibility for past or future acts. The releasor in the contract waives their right to file a lawsuit against the protected entity. Businesses use release of liability forms in a wide array of situations, and every contract is different.
When drafting a release of liability form, you must include basic information, such as the parties’ names, the issue of liability or potential liability, the effective date, and the venue. If the act in question has already occurred, the contract will likely also include the consideration that will be exchanged to absolve the at-fault party from liability. Other components of a release of liability form may include:
All parties should have a right to consult an attorney before signing the agreement. A qualified attorney can help you review and negotiate a waiver of liability form to ensure it suits your needs.
Although people can be released from liability for property damage after a specific accident, business owners often find that general and mutual releases are the most beneficial.
When employees resign or are terminated, you should include general releases in their exit papers. Employees signing general releases give up all known claims and unknown future claims.
For example, if an employee who never reports a toxic environment quits and takes another job, your business could be liable if they decide to file a claim in the future. However, if you execute a release of liability contract, the employee cannot sue you after leaving the company.
In mutual releases, all parties assume liability for themselves, giving up all known and future claims to sue each other, often over an unsuccessful business transaction. For example, early in negotiations to merge, you and the other business owner may get involved in a dispute in which you both believe the other is at fault.
A mutual release is less expensive than fighting it out in court, especially if neither party has lost anything but time at the bargaining table. An Atlanta lawyer can assess your situation and determine if a release of liability form is appropriate.
Because it is a contract, release of liability must include consideration from both parties to be legal. Consideration means the parties entering an agreement give something of value to the other party to get something of value back. For example, an employer could provide a departing employee with a letter of recommendation in exchange for a release of liability.
If the employee is already receiving severance pay, that payment will not suffice as consideration because the employer has already agreed to give up the severance. Our legal team can draft or review release of liability agreements to ensure consideration is not illusory.
A release of liability form is a valuable tool in your contracts and agreements repository. They work to allocate responsibility in many situations and are especially valuable to business owners.
Our skilled legal team can draft a contract that prevent future problems with business associates. Call us to schedule your initial consultation and discuss release of liability forms in Atlanta.